Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Stroll around the Cambridge Botanic Garden

Monday, 10th June 2013: Today’s spare time was spent on another walk rather than cycle. Again with my wife and daughter. The thinking being that my wife and I might as well enjoy her long break.

For the first time in a gazillion years long time I went to the Cambridge University Botanic Gardens (with the aforementioned wife and daughter).  So after a brief bit of news the blog will consist mainly of flower pictures.

Once again we drove in, we use to cycle much more as a family but I now struggle to get others out cycling. They don’t really enjoy mixing it with traffic. A prejudice that was increased when innocent me was knocked off my bike by a SMIDSY driver (trip to A&E for a broken collar bone – wonderful service at Addenbrooke’s Hospital).

First, a rather bizarre example of why wearing a cycle helmet can be a 1 in a zillion good thing to do “Cyclist saved by his helmet after being bashed in head with metal bar”. The Police have advised all people returning to their homes late at night to wear a cycle helmet for their own safety before entering an empty house.

As I mentioned we drove and parked along Trumpington Road – there is a charge, but it is convenient, especially when taking elderly relatives.  Despite the scaremongering we managed it despite the pothole backlog. When I was taught to drive I was taught to drive at a speed appropriate for the circumstances. Nowadays give the performance of modern cars many drivers feel that they have a cast-iron entitlement to drive at the speed limit regardless (or just above according to ACPO guidelines). Therein lies the issue.

An example of the feeling of entitlement can be seen in this item – “Cambridge road closure proposal ‘bonkers’, say residents”. There are proposals being considered to partially closed East Road and Hills Road to cars.  This would make it safer for those going to the schools and help public transport.  There is the same response along Histon Road where there plans to “clear more space for cyclists and buses”.  I tend not to cycle along Histon Road the cycle lanes seem to give permission for vehicles to pass cyclists with centimetres to space. The trouble is residents feel entitled to park near their homes – on public roads. Of course part of the problem is that getting around can be pretty tricky because of congestion and poor public transport provision and keeping up with the Joneses. 

The congestion situation is so bad in Cambridge that short of turning the place into a few roads and a large car-park it does require some radical thinking. (Well radical for some). Even a Traffic Survey causes tailbacks – proof that there is a problem.

So at least some of that “new” thinking seems to making a change. “3,000-space Cambridge cycle park set for green light”. Talk about inching forward – at this rate we might see it sometime in the second half of the century.  Although the headline mentions 3,000-spaces - the text talks about “nearly 2,900" spaces”. Death by a 872 cuts eh.

Another interesting snippet of travel news – “Direct Crossrail link hope for Cambridge Trains” – not just joined-up thinking but joined-up railways whatever will they think of next.

And now for some flowers form the Botanic Gardens – I am not sure how much it cost, my wife paid – but I was impressed – it was a great time to go as well. The Garden covers 40 acres with a variety of glasshouses and is close to the railway station as well.

My wife used to take our son there, pre-school and picnic and let him run around an explore. (It is another dog poo free place.) It might also have been free then, I am not sure.

Poppy – Cambridge Botanic Garden

I have a train to catch shortly, sorry and so am not going to name the flowers.


Interesting leaf patterns and eggs.


I always associate Robins with Christmas – this one was pretty tame.


Sustainable pipe brush.

These plants were all in the glass houses. With varying degrees of temperature and humidity. My camera lens too a while to clear.



A little large than the lily pads on Wicken Lode.


At this point my camera battery was running fairly  – I’d completely forgotten to check it and had been taking loads of pictures.  So I switched to an emergency camera as well – my Galaxy S4. There is not quite the depth in the picture – probably because the depth of field is fixed and quite wide so as to be forgiving.  I is also quite difficult to see the screen in the sun – so there is a certain amount of luck. Although my SLR cameras have screens I tend to use the viewfinders as it makes the scene easier to see and scrutinise.

A switch back to my SLR. There is less depth of field so the background is blurred out and paradoxically it give the picture more depth.

Even with HDR the depth of deep purple was hard to capture. I wish I had taken these picture a little earlier the flowers were just going over.


My S4 will take HDR pictures – only it takes several exposures and combines them in one go in the “camera” (aka phone). The effect is quite good although not as flexible as post picture processing. Also the depth of field give the picture a flatter look.

Another S4 HDR picture.

I like the way Alliums look – it is a firework in a flower.

It must be a good year for Wisteria – except for the one we have growing at home – that has never, ever flowered.

We also had a drink and a piece of cake. As a friend pointed out the Cafe is not cheap. The cake was delicious though – a proper moist slice.


And finally some pictures – decaying America, Opium poppies growing in Lincolnshire. One of the reasons we cyclists don’t feel safe on the roads – a Grandmother who drove her car 200 yards along a tramline!!!!!

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